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Celebrate the life and legacy of Jacques Cousteau with the NOAA Office of
National Marine Sanctuaries!


On June 25, 2010, ONMS launches "Cousteau Day," a system-wide day of celebration of Jacques Cousteau's life, marking 13 years since his passing and 100 years since his birth on June 11, 1910. In his 87 years, Captain Cousteau's immense contributions to marine science and conservation, including the production of more than 120 documentaries, advancing the science of scuba, and promoting environmental activism are indisputable. 100 years after his birth, Jacques-Yves Cousteau continues to teach us, stir our imagination, push our limits, and inspire our dreams. We celebrate his singular life and enduring legacy. During his missions, Captain Cousteau was rarely without his red watch cap. This iconic image has come to be synonymous with his work and personality that paved the way for generations to care about oceans. To connect our system of celebrations to his legacy, all ONMS staff will wear a red watch cap on Cousteau Day.

Each sanctuary in the national system will pay tribute to Captain Cousteau with individual events. Here is a listing of all site and regional activities planned:

West Coast Region

Monterey Bay NMS and West Coast Regional Office staff are planning a clean up (removal) of Undaria, an invasive species of seaweed, from Monterey harbor.

Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary is honoring Jacques Cousteau's 100th birthday with a week-long focus on underwater exploration and the impact of humans on the marine environment. June 14 -19, the Olympic Coast Discovery Center will feature Cousteau's videos and books as well as scuba gear. Saturday, June 19, local divers will be on City Pier for a demonstration of scuba diving and a look at the marine life and debris in our harbor using live underwater video cameras.

Gulf of the Farallones NMS will be conducting a beach cleanup on June 25.

Channel Islands NMS - TBA

Cordell Bank NMS staff will be disembarking from the West Coast Deep Sea Corals Research Cruise in San Francisco, hopefully with new insight into never before seen habitats off the Marin and Sonoma coasts of Cordell Bank and Gulf of the Farallones sanctuaries and surrounding areas. Stay tuned to expedition here.

Southeast Region

The Southeast Regional Office will recognize Captain Cousteau's career by distributing copies of his 1956 documentary Silent World to regional ONMS sites and arrange presentations for the local communities. The innovative film, a pioneer in underwater cinematography, is an example of the shifting baselines between the delicate nature of marine resources and how we must react to the inevitable changes in these environments. The Silent World sheds light on the shift of attitudes by the marine community away from consumption toward trends of conservation and protection.

Gray's Reef NMS sponsored free admission to the University of Georgia Marine Extension Service aquarium on Saturday, June 12 in honor of Jacques Cousteau’s 100th birthday. Aquarium visitors got a good introduction to local marine life. Film clips of Gray’s Reef were shown and visitors spent time at the aquarium tank devoted to explaining the sanctuary fish tagging project as well as visiting the diorama depicting Gray’s Reef. At a 1 pm, everybody stopped to sing “Happy Birthday” to Jacques. A large cake was cut and eaten by the crowd. In total 145 adults, 121 children and 32 seniors visited the aquarium for the birthday celebration. It was a successful day with our partners at the aquarium. Many thanks to Assistant Curator Karin Paquin and Curator Devon Dumont for making this possible.

Flower Garden Banks NMS - Due to the Cousteau birthday coinciding with a teacher workshop Flower Garden staff are sponsoring called "Science at Sea", Flower Garden Banks has chosen to incorporate Cousteau activities into this program as their primary event. The "Science at Sea" education workshop will be held June 21-25, 2010. Each participant will receive a red watch cap as part of their workshop packet. Throughout the workshop brief "Cousteau Moments" will be offered that highlight Cousteau's contributions to ocean exploration and discovery. The dates of the highlighted accomplishments will be incorporated into the Coral Coring lesson plan where students find significant dates in history, mark the appropriate growth ring on the image of the coral core, and relate them to other events happening in the same decade. The workshop will be concluded by a film screening and a cake representative of Cousteau's passion for the ocean.

Florida Keys NMS staff will host the inaugural "Lion Fish Roundup" by deploying teams throughout the Keys to survey reefs that have a high probability of lionfish populations, document them, and safely remove the lionfish if found. The crews will also be documenting the health of coral colonies at these reefs as a response to the cold water event this past winter.

Pacific Islands Region
In conjunction with Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale NMS and the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, O'ahu based Pacific Islands Region staff will celebrate Cousteau's legacy by taking a proactive step towards clean ocean environments. They will conduct an cleanup of the Waimanalo Bay State Recreation Area. A luncheon will follow the cleanup.

Northeast and Great Lakes Region

Monitor NMS is presenting a Wreath Laying ceremony at sea on June 25th from the SRVx as part of the "Battle of The Atlantic" survey project. The ceremony will be filmed and recorded for use within the program and placed on the Monitor NMS website as well as Facebook.

Stellwagen Bank NMS in partnership with the neighboring Scituate Marine Park presents "An Evening Remembering Jacques Cousteau" which is open to guests from the local public. The event will be held in the sanctuary annex.

Thunder Bay NMS – Join the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary
June 24 at the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center, bringing Cousteau to a new generation of Great Lakes and Ocean explorers, children are invited to a reading of "Manfish," by Jennifer Berne, and "The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau," by Dan Yaccarino. Enjoy these two wonderfully illustrated children's picture-books featuring the boyhood of Cousteau when his passion for the sea began, reading followed by a craft. This event is part of Alpena County Library's Summer Reading Program from 10:00 am - 11:00 am.

Also, on June 25 at the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center, there will be a Cousteau Family movie marathon! Watch Cousteau's groundbreaking film The Silent World and then dive into Jean-Michel Cousteau: Ocean Adventures, the award-winning PBS series from Jacques Cousteau's son, Jean-Michel, screening and episodes will be shown back-to-back from 10:00 am through 5:00 pm in the visitor center theater. For feature showtimes call 989.356.8805 ext. 18

For showtimes call 989.356.8805 ext. 18

Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Headquarters

The ONMS Headquarters office in Silver Spring, MD will host an in-house film festival of Cousteau and ocean exploration-themed films for all interested NOAA staff.

More about Captain Cousteau

Jacques-Yves Cousteau was a French naval officer, explorer, ecologist, filmmaker, innovator, photographer, author, and researcher who studied the sea and all forms of marine life. Throughout his career, Cousteau made immense contributions to marine science and ocean conservation, including the production of more than 115 television films and 50 books. Moreover , he educated the world of the diversity of sea life and inspired future generations to explore and protect our ocean.

A pioneer in many fields, Cousteau co-invented the Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus, or scuba, in 1943, unveiling the world under the sea to human beings for the first time. He also assisted in the design of the first underwater vehicle for exploration, as well as a complementary wind-power system, the Turbosail, now used on the Cousteau ship Alcyone. In 1950 Cousteau refitted a former mine-sweeper into his oceanographic vessel Calypso, a seafaring laboratory and studio with instruments for diving and scientific research. For the next four decades, Calypso, her captain, and her crew explored the ocean, drawing public attention to the wonders of the world beneath the surface of the sea.

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